D’Antoni Says Gasol A Better Post Player Than Howard


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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. –
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni has gone from Dwight Howard at center to Chris Kaman, from publicly criticizing Pau Gasol to a hard sell on Gasol as a reason for hope, and from a 2012-13 of immense expectations to a follow-up where just making the playoffs could make this season a success.

His world has not stopped spinning since getting the job 10 1/2 months ago. D’Antoni is willing to be honest in the assessment that the Lakers would be better off if Howard had re-signed, a sentiment a lot of scorned Lakers backers dismiss.

With the Los Angeles portion of the Dwightmare closed and D’Antoni in his first full season as coach, he looked back in an NBA.com interview at the 2012-13 with the perspective of time and where it has left the Lakers in 2013-14.

Question: How much of (praising Gasol) is propping him up, giving him that encouragement, and how much do you really believe this team is better with Pau than it would have been with Dwight?

Answer: I think those are two different points. When you say he’s one of the best skilled big men in the league, that’s not propping him up. That’s the truth. If the franchise had made a decision last year to kind of go another direction because of youth then you had to play around that. That was the direction it was going. But if you tell me right now who’d you rather post up, you want to post up Pau or you want to post up Dwight Howard and give him the ball? No (question). [Indicating Gasol] But if you want to re-sign somebody, who do you want? That’s where the problem was. It was clear who was the best post man. It’s nothing against Dwight. That’s the reality.

Q: But is this team better off if it had Dwight now or with Pau there?

A: We’ll see, We’ll see. I don’t want to go out that far because obviously there’s an answer and I don’t want to offend anybody. I love Pau’s game. I think Pau’s won two championships and I think Pau’s been very instrumental. Like Lamar Odom at the four and Pau at the five, and now you’re back there. It kind of speaks for itself.

Q: How glad are people — you, maybe players in the locker room — to just be done with all the craziness and say, ‘We don’t have to do that for another four or five years?’

A: You’re done with the uncertainty. You’re done with ‘Does he want to be here or not? Do you have to appease him because then you’ll lose him?’ You’re done with that. So now you can just — you know what, we’re going to try this.

Q: In other words, if he had been back ….

A: Then we’d have been fine too.

Q: There wouldn’t have been craziness?

A: No. It would have been different. That was just a weird year that everybody kind of had to modify different things or muffle stuff or not say something.

Q: How much did you have to bite your tongue last year?

A: You have to do it every year, first of all. Every team.

Q: It wasn’t a situation because the guy was about to become a free agent?

A: Oh, yeah. Sure. That all plays into it. It all plays everywhere. But, again, to be fair, he was hurt half the year. You’ve got to be fair to him. You’ve got to be fair to the franchise. That’s just the way the situation was. We didn’t come through it total. At the end of the day, I understand there was a rough period, we were 28-12 the last 40 games. We were the third-best record with Steve Nash going down, Pau going down, Dwight going down, Metta (World Peace) going down. And we had the third-best record in the league the last 40 games. That’s half the season. We bombed out in the playoffs because we lost everybody. You’ve got to give the guys their credit. They got us to the playoffs in a tough Western Conference. They went 7-1 in April when it counted. There was some good stuff. But at the same time, it was a weird year. Different. Not to be repeated too many times.

Q: Is there any part of you that looks back and says you went too far out of your way to appease him?

A: (Pause) Not really. It wasn’t that. You’re just trying to find the balance and stuff.  [Trying to find a balance of] “OK, he needs a touch here, he needs a touch there.” It’s never pure. I think it was fine.

Q: Did Dwight bring on a lot of the craziness on himself?

A: No. I just think it was the situation. Dwight, he came to every practice. He worked hard every day. What happened was, you’re hurt, you start to lose, it starts to cave in on us, and you lash out sometimes in different ways. But their character, they hung in there, did not break completely apart and, like I said, the last 40 games went 28-12.

Q: Do you believe he was ever 100 percent committed to being here?

A: I think so. He was committed to making us win as much as we could.

Q: You said you had to bite your tongue a little bit. What can you say now that you couldn’t say last season?

A: I wouldn’t say it. He’s one of the best players in the league. And we had another guy that’s one of the best players in the league, and it was hard to find an even footing. There’s nothing that I’m biting my tongue about. It’s just too bad we couldn’t quite all get together on the same page. There’s so many factors. There’s not just one thing. It’s not really fair to anybody to say, ‘It’s this guy. It’s that guy.’ It’s a combination of guys, a combination of stuff, and that’s how it is always. It’s never one guy’s fault.

Q: When it came out from his camp, whether it was him directly or somebody close to him, that he was having problems with the offense and didn’t like what his role was, how much did that bother you?

A: None. I hated it in a sense. I mean, it bothered you because you don’t want to be a reason for him not to come back. But at the same time, so he chooses to go to a team that has the same offense that we have? C’mon. OK. I don’t know. Actually, they have our offense on steroids. They were doing it the right way. We weren’t. I don’t know how much that played into that, but all kinds of stuff’s going to come out from different parts. I’ve been around players and coaches and I’ve probably said 1,000 things. I’ve said 100 here, one here, over there, I’m going north, I’m going south, east. You never get it straight.

Q: You’re probably aware that at some point something else is going to come out that he’s going to say.

A: Something will probably come out that I say. It’s just because we have to talk a lot, and some night you’ll say something or somebody will construe it a little different. Then by the time it gets reported to him, it’ll be not quite the way it was said, and vice versa. It’ll be, “I didn’t quite mean it that way. Now, it looks bad.” The guy tried to do everything he could to make us win and I tried to do everything I could to make us win. It just didn’t work out last year.”

Q: Do you feel this team is better with this team than if Dwight had been here?

A: I think if Dwight were here it would have made us better. Yeah, I think it would. Yeah. He impacts the game, there’s no doubt about it.

62 Comments

  1. jobert says:

    D’Antoni benched Pau! And now he calls him a “better” post player than dwight coward?

  2. Mr.Speedy says:

    Lakers should get rid of this D’antoni dood and try to get Phill Jackson, :( it would give them a MUCH better chance at reaching the playoffs and a much better chance at Kobe getting 6.

  3. Wally says:

    I’m sorry, but I’m tired of Howard and those who say it is the best center. It will be his tenth season and its movement remain the same, the springs is getting shorter and his shot will not talk. I also acknowledge that the Rockets have been the best place I could be, but I’d like to hear from those who know his mentality. He is a young child, has no competitive mentality! He is a coward! I’m glad the Lakers did not build anything around a player with so little talent. Pau will be a Hall of Fame, for his great basketball and titles (worldwide). Howard, comedian will as much!

    Come on!

  4. marty says:

    As long as KB is in LA they will struggle.He wants to be the man but being the man goes way beyond shooting.Coach afraid to point this out.

  5. epiphoniii says:

    says the guy who him out of lakers.

  6. epiphoniii says:

    wth dumbtoni. you never used post plays. dumb cnt

  7. Shiv says:

    I find it funny how everyone counts the Lakers out now like look at the Golden State Warriors they had a great season and they didn’t have all these huge players other then curry and we got some good pick ups with Jordan Farmar back and Nick Young and Wesley Johnson the team is all round going to be better I reckon more players to rely on other then just going Kobe and Pau we can hit Wesley on the fast break for dunks and allys and we got such a great shooter out of Nick Young so Laker Fans lets have some faith

  8. MG20 says:

    So why did he barely use him in the low post than? All the plays were for Howard…

    • juggernaut584 says:

      Because they were trying to make him happy so he would re-up his contract in L.A. for that 5 year deal that he left on the table to go the Houston.

  9. Charlesmck says:

    This article is empty of content. A pity for Gasol, a pity for Bryant, a pity for us… we had to read it.

  10. jimbo says:

    From a long time laker fan who has seen enough: injuries aside, a team’s performance is a function of ownership’s philosophy (nee; ability). In the Laker’s case the bottom line responsibility (culprit) is Jim Buss (not Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Ramon Sessions, or any of the other players/coaches singled out as scapegoats by the media). The solution, fire Jim Buss ! but wait…no can do, he’s the owner. Well Laker fans…….you’re screwed !!!

  11. Fred says:

    IMO, Howard has so much natural talent that he has never had to work on the finer points of the game. Gasol has–he’s slow but plays a “thinking man’s” game. His brother Marc is a bulldozer by comparison. Howard can leap tall buildings in a single bound, so why worry (mixing my metaphors)? Given a choice, he’ll slam it. He doesn’t need finesse. And, I think that was the problem last year with the Lakers. But, the Lake Show gotta move on. Dwelling in the coulda, woulda, shouldas of the past is not going to help them plan for the future.

  12. Brain32 says:

    Hmm if Pau is so much better offensively as you guys speak then how come their career averages are practically the same? And at that Howard is by two points better in the playoffs than Pau…
    Comparing their best scoring seasons, Dwight is again better than Pau 22,9 vs 20,8, comparing their best socring playoff years Dwight averaged 27.0 PPG in 2011, Pau’s best is 21.0 in 2005

    So how do you explain the “Pau is clearly better offensively” statement??

    • ko0kiE says:

      have you watched those guys play? most of howards point are set up by pick-and-roll, where the wing players makes the play and he just dunks it, or by offensive rebounds. but howard isn’t as versatile as pau with the balll.. he needs somebody to set him up.

    • juggernaut584 says:

      Being better offensively doesn’t mean just scoring more points. If that was the case then every year whoever won the scoring title would be considered the best offensive player in the league, and we all know that to be false. Gasol is better offensively because his offensive game is more versatile. He can post up, face up, put the ball on the floor, hit the open man, and his range on his shot extends out to about 15-18 feet. While Dwight Howard has no face up game or jumpshot, does not do well when double teamed, does not have range outside the paint, can’t put the ball on the floor effectively, and has limited post moves. He is also notorioulsy atrocious from the charity stripe, while Gasol shoots in the 75-80% range. So, while D12 is more physically dominant, and scores more points; Gasol is a better decision maker on offense, and is more likely to make the correct basketball play for his team rather than just put the ball in the basket.

  13. sanjay says:

    lakers have no chance despite anything good from paul! His 20 is not enough! Lakers need young guns similar to what spurs have like leonard and green! lakers core is geront and therefore there supporting cast need young legs; I have no idea why this problem has not been addressed when they had so much money left on the table due to howards exit!
    The eventual lack of leadership from kobe is showing now( he should have taken the lead to see that the team has right mix of old and new to compete for championship).
    So I wont be surprised with yet another injury plagued, debacled season!

  14. euro says:

    Hey Mike in Europe we’re saying “you haven’t discovered America”.
    Why Lakers hired Dantoni?
    He wasted time and players.

  15. arcywafu says:

    He didn’t play Pau cause he needs to play Dwight. D’antoni wants Howard to feel that the Lakers management needs him even though he didn’t make some crucial free throws. Unfortunately he didn’t re-sign.

  16. @ JJ (Rockets Fan) says:

    I hope you don’t get caught with the wrong expectations as what happened to the Lakers fans last season. Yes, he’s a superior athlete and intimidating defender on the block, but his offense hasn’t changed since the Orlando days. I just hope that with Hakeem as his special coach and McHale at helm, things will turn around for him offensively. Otherwise he has to come up again with excuses for his shortcomings. From a Pacers fan, peace.

  17. ripistons says:

    Gasol is a better post player than Howard but that doesn’t make him better than Howard

  18. Mbr Gtk says:

    Yeah, Pau is more efficient for scoring than D12.

    Let say D12 blocks 10 of 15 attacks, oponent gets 10 points, Pau blocks 6 of 15 attacks. opponent gets 18 points. change is 8 points. Now offensively, D12 misses 10+ free throws and cannot get mid range jumpers. but pau can get 8 of 10 FT and get more mid range jumpers. This is the real deal. For both end boards, d12 is the best without doubt.

  19. Dwightmare says:

    Poor D antoni, if he’s persisting that, then i would say, Mike Brown is much better than him, he didn’t even reach NBA finals as a head coach, compared to Mike Brown, lol

  20. James says:

    PAU is way better then Dwight howard

  21. James says:

    LOL Dwight cant even make a free throw and you accept him to be better post up playet then Dwight Coward LOL

  22. lakerfaneventhoughiknowtheywontwinthisseason says:

    To all you saying “oh Mike why did you bench Pau last season” it was because Dwight Howard simply could not be “blamed” for anything, the Lakers were trying to keep Dwight so if they benched Dwight they would be counterproductive! Dwight was advertised as “bringing the Lakers a championship” so they simply werent allowed to bench Dwight for mistakes.

    That being said, I agree the Pau Gasol is infact a much better post player than Dwight, for some reason Dwight just doesnt have that deadly offensive skill set, its just not in his blood or we would have seen it by now, he has been in the league for quite a while and is the oldest player on the Rockets. Dwight still kills the stats though, but he lack offensive skill. I guess he makes up for it by being a deadly defender.

    Lets see how the Lakers do this season, hopefully second round of playoffs (yes one can hope)

  23. JJ (Rockets Fan) says:

    LOL@ Lakers still saying childish and silly things about Dwight. It has been three months. SO SO SAD SOOOOOOO SO LAME. Meanwhile, Dwight is handling everything like a gentleman and paying L.A. no mind at all. Purple and Gold is starting to look a bit stale and old. yesterdays news. Good luck gettting Melo next year Mike D, your gonna need it.

    • Nelli says:

      So, do you honestly believe that Dwight is a better post player than Gasol? Aside from the follow-ups and pick and roll, what other moves has he got? It’s a fact, Dwight is not being hated because he left L.A., the discussion is about who’s got the better post move. Does not take a genius to know that.

    • Urmom says:

      Dwight wrote this

  24. SBUL says:

    Do you think if Superman is here, would he be able to fly?

  25. Felix says:

    D Antoni should get fired

  26. Tony says:

    Its Obvious that Gasol’s Offensive game is light years ahead of Howard

  27. Jamal Joseph says:

    I wish people would just say what they really want to say w/o being worried about politics. It would make the game more competitive likethe old nba. The new nba is too soft

  28. GASOL HAS TWO MORE YEARS UNTIL HE HAS PLAYED JUST AS LONG AS SHAQ DID FOR THE LAKERS. AND ONLY ONE RING SHORT. PRETTY SOON ITS GOING TO BE A PIC OF SHAQ AND #8 KOBE THEN PAU AND #24 KOBE COMMON DENOMINATOR KOBE. BUT MUCH RESPECT FOR THE BIGS.

  29. lol says:

    D’antoni pwned D12 big time. He got his revenge now. gg D12 loses.

  30. Wayne Turner says:

    Dwight Howard = A poor man’s Shaquille O’Neal.Who doesn’t have the fight to win,just whine.The way he sooked that the Magic,& then the Lakers.He wants a championship without the effort.

    He’s overrated,and lucky he’s playing in an NBA era lacking great big men.He’s lucky he didn’t have to compete against Ewing,The Dream,Shaq in his prime,and Alonzo.

    Pau is ok,but his best days are behind him.

    This Lakers team will be lucky if they make the play offs,and would be better off getting a high draft pick instead.

  31. BlackDove- says:

    Lakers boss Buss team is going to be a train wreck

    • bballjunkie1 says:

      He has already wrecked it and the train aint through falling off of the tracks. What an idot hire Phil, big names would come to take care of the lux tax and Lake show would have been in championship games last 2 seasons. No I’ve got to put my stamp on it well you have quit trying to put spin and blame on everyone else but the the obvious. We aint what we were and thats the bottom line. Don’t blame Dwight, Ariza, Sessions and everyone else that left running. From an old school laker fan.

  32. okc2014 says:

    What do you want him to say? The truth? He can’t. C’mon, it’s called diplomacy.

  33. DefenseWinsRings says:

    Duh he’s a better post player. Dwight is a superior athlete and defender but offensively he is nowhere near polished. He has bad footwork, can’t shoot, no post moves… All his offense comes off of o-rebounds or pick and roll. That being said, Dwight is much more valuable than Pau with his terrific defense and ability to rebound and run the floor.

  34. r says:

    all i have to say to that is HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. but of course the laker coach is obligated to say that.

  35. Fred Field says:

    D’Antoni is starting to sound like he’s getting to know LA–doublespeak all the time. It remains to be seen, though, whether his “system” is going to work with aging players not in their primes. Kobe is the face of the franchise, not D’Antoni. All the locker-room glee and cohesiveness is going to go south when they don’t win–that’s obvious. Kobe no happy, D’Antoni no job.

  36. All Howard is, is a pick and roll to the basket player and will catch oops or dunks off the rim he’s no post player. He’s only got like 1 jump hook and that’s it. But I give credit for the amazing defense he’s got

  37. MARK says:

    THANK YOU!!!

  38. What????? says:

    If Gasol is better, why was he benched on late games last season while Howard was struggling to make freethrows. Hmmmm…..
    While he is the Laker coach, Laker management should start planning on drafting in the lottery.

  39. Scott says:

    What a joke of a coach this guy is.

  40. Shin Dung Fha says:

    D’Antoni, a real pro.. I wish he can win more with the Lake show, hopefully a ring with current players.. it will be a long stretch, but one can dream right? Just imagine if Kobe-Gasol-Nash are still on their prime together, not even the heat on their prime can beat them.

    • 0_o? says:

      idiot…

    • Witness says:

      HAHAHA the Heat would dominate them.

    • Game Time says:

      That would have been nice to see. Kobe Gasol and Nash all at 25-29 vs Lebron Wade and Bosh around those ages. Kobe, James and Wade would be unstoppable scoring, Nash could be stopped most the time with Wade on him, and Bosh and Gasol would be an even matchup. I think Miami would win overall though.

      • Eliteninja says:

        Gasol and Bosh an even matchup in their prime? As if. Gasol is WAY better than Bosh at almost everything. The only edge B
        Bosh gets is athleticism.

  41. uzi la says:

    thats pretty obv

  42. Mike says:

    Pau is definitely the better player in terms of post skills, but Dwight is obviously the better player overall.

    Hey D’antoni, you weren’t so keen on Pau when you were trying to blame him for last season, huh?

    • Bigchilly says:

      Actually Mike no Dwight isn’t a over all better player, Pau has won in the NBA and international Dwight is more atheletic and a better defensive player it stops there

      • xchanism says:

        your right
        Pau = Offense
        Dwight = Defense
        Period

      • Nelli says:

        I totaly agree. When the lakeshow signed Howard, I started thinking what can he bring to the table aside from his athleticism? He’s definitely a top defender but scoring wise, He’s not even better than Bynum nor Gasol if you think of the moves he can make. If not for the easy follows, the alley-oops and easy baskets he gets because Kobe is getting double teamed, his post moves are not that impressive. Much respect to Dwights defensive plays and athleticism, but Gasol definitely has better post moves and has better basketball I.Q.

      • Manie says:

        Dwight on his top form gives LA exactly what they need, a finisher of pick and rolls, Rebounding and blocks. All this media attention is just a Lakers plot to raise the confidence of they season tickets holders and try to sell some more season tickets before the season begin and Lakers start loosing games

      • artifex says:

        @xchanism
        There is a saying that defense wins championships.
        It’s true they won 2 championships and he was elemtar to those teams, but the no1 there was Kobe. Dwight brought Magic to the finals without much support.
        Not saying that I like his antics and all that. Quite childish.
        But D’Antoni saying he prefers Gasol over Dwight after he took long and only after Kobes insistence bringing Gasol more into the game, resulting in career lows for Pau seems quite strange.
        But what should he say: I was stupid last year to not involving Pau more and earlier in the season, or I wasn’t able to put together an offensive scheme in which Kobes and Dwights abilities can dwell the most? (though coach can only do so much to players chemistry but it seemed the overall offensive scheme didn’t work towards their strengths…

    • Another Heat Fan says:

      Yep. BS answers from a BS coach.
      The Lakers would be better off witthout a coach. Let Kobe player-coach. They won’t win a championship but at least he’d make his team quit the drama and focus on the game. I cheer against the Lakers, but their performance last year was so pathetic I couldn’t even do that. They had no spirit. Just one player trying to do his individual best surrounded by a team afraid of it’s own potential.

  43. Lanzorin says:

    It was really necessary to make an article to say that? Thanks captain obvious…